Speaker Bios and Presentation Topics 



Alan Rockefeller

Alan is a mycologist specializing in DNA barcoding, field photography, and fungal microscopy. Committed to his cause, Alan has been studying fungal diversity for more than two decades, and since 2001 he has photographed more than 2,500 species of fungi. In order to discover new fungi, and spark interest in the hearts and minds of those new to the field, Alan regularly leads forays all over North America, including Mexico where he has been studying the mushroom diversity for 15 years and is consequently bilingual. Alan’s contributions to community science have been widespread, and his dedication to teaching thousands of people over several years how to extract and amplify the DNA of their mushroom finds for sequencing is remarkable, and remains unparalleled. As of today, Alan has uploaded more than 700 of his own fungal DNA sequences to Genbank, and he is a co-author on several scientific papers, including publications documenting new species of bioluminescent Mycena and Psilocybe. Alan is also devoted to the art of macroscopic mushroom identification and legitimately spends hours each day identifying mushrooms for the general public. Amazingly, he has identified over 300,000 fungi on websites like iNaturalist, Mushroom Observer, and various Facebook Groups. Nothing short of a powerhouse, Alan Rockefeller is an authority on the leading edge of mycology, who is beloved by his community for the knowledge and value he contributes to the field.

Mushroom Photography: A brief summary of what Alan has learned about mushroom photography in the past 20 years. How to get take good mushroom pictures using anything from a cell phone to a professional camera. 

Dr. Michael J. Hathaway 
A Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Associate Member of the School for International Studies, and the Director of SFU's David Lam Centre for Asian Studies. He is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow and author of What a Mushroom Lives For (2022) and Environmental Winds (2013).

Hathaway is a cultural anthropologist with two central interests. First, he is deeply interested in China’s place in the modern world, looking at how little-known dynamics there have created world-spanning effects in surprising realms such as feminism, environmentalism, and Indigenous rights. His aim is to disrupt the typical assumptions that globalization emerges solely from the West. Second, Hathaway is doing what he can to foster a transformation in scientific understandings based on colonial assumptions of the natural world.

For a quarter-century, Hathaway has lived in, worked, and traveled in China and increasingly in Japan, where he has explored the entangled and emerging worlds of transnational environmentalism and Indigenous rights.

More recently, Hathaway has been exploring hidden histories of Indigenous-led activism across the Pacific Rim and how they have shaped the contemporary world.

Thinking and Being with Fungi

Dr. Christopher Hobbs

Dr. Christopher Hobbs is a fourth-generation, internationally renowned herbalist, licensed acupuncturist, author, clinician, botanist, mycologist, and research scientist with over 35 years of experience with herbal medicine.

Christopher has a doctorate from UC Berkeley in phylogenetics, evolutionary biology and phytochemistry. He is also a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild.


Medicinal Mushrooms

Dr. Gordon Walker

Dr. Gordon Walker is originally from Cambridge, MA but also spent time growing up on the Northshore of Massachusetts. For undergrad he attended UC Santa Cruz where he got his B.S. in Biochemistry. For gradschool he attended UC Davis where he completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He then worked Opus One winery isolating wild yeast and pioneering new wine technologies. Worked in biotechnology sales around the Bay Area, then returned to UC Davis where he completed postdoctoral work on fermentation process control. Besides his passion for all things fungi and fermentation, he is an avid chef, forager, and gardener. He resides in Napa, CA. 


 Overview of Kingdom Fungi: Weird and Wonderful Ways Fungi Live: A broad overview of the fungal kingdom with an emphasis on the basics of ecology, chemistry, reproduction, life styles, associations, and more.

Vellany Pierce
Santa Cruz County local and  member of the FFSC for 15 over years serving as minister of digital media as well as helping to lead local forays. Vellany is currently the Prime Minister for the group. Always having had an interest in fungi, Vellany is a self taught mushroom cultivator and has worked for Far West Fungi for the past 8 years as spawn lab technician. 

 Building Culture Through Myco-Communities 

Indy Officinalis

Indy Officinalis is a forager, educator, urban farmer, and steward of both her environment and her community.  She is currently transforming a small plot of land in Los Angeles to create a mutual aid model demonstration farm. Her work is centered around the amplification of black and brown communities and food insecure regions. She is the host of NatGeo's TV Series "Farm Dreams" featured on Disney and Hulu.


Jasper Degenaars

Jasper Degenaars is a Mycologist, Educator, and the Hyphae Headmaster of Fungi Academy With 12+ years of mushroom growing experience and more than 2,500 students taught since 2019, Jasper has set out on a mission to make learning mushroom cultivation Easy, Fun, and Exciting! With the skillset of a self-taught teacher, he aims to make the art and science of mushroom cultivation accessible to everyone aspiring to be a citizen mycologist. He has co-created several full-length online courses, including the Sacred Mushroom Cultivation Course and the Fungal Ecology Course, and has written coursebooks on these topics.

William Padilla-Brown

Founder and CEO of MycoSymbiotics, William Padilla-Brown is a Multidisciplinary Citizen Scientist practicing social science, mycology, phycology, molecular biology, and additive manufacturing. William founded MycoSymbiotics in 2015, and has since developed it into the innovative practical applied biological science business it is today. William holds permaculture design certificates acquired through Susquehanna Permaculture and NGOZI, and a certificate from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in algal culturing techniques. He has published the first English-language books on cultivating the cordyceps mushroom and regularly leads courses on their cultivation. William's research has been sponsored by several organizations and his work has been featured in multiple publications, including Fantastic Fungi and VICE. He also founded and manages MycoFest, an annual mushroom and arts festival, now on its tenth year!

Truffle The Earth's Ultimate Mushrooms: Did you know that truffles are mushrooms? Truffles hold incredible potential as medicinal mushrooms and beneficial mycorhizzae in Food Forestry. Get the download from Wills recent trips to Spain and Oregon to study Truffles.

Dr. Giulietta Octavio

Dr. Giulietta Octavio, dacm works with people and organizations to increase their fundamental wellbeing and create positive change in the world. She founded Ceybon, the brand behind Ceybon AF, the only plant-medicine inspired, mushroom-infused, alcohol-free, ready to drink cocktails sustainably produced by an all woman company in Northern California. She holds a clinical doctorate in integrative TCM and sustainable herbalism, and has 22 years of experience in private practice, entrepreneurship, plant-based product development and advocacy. Dr. G leaps out of bed in the morning, excited to do amazing work with awesome people and drink coffee. Her motto: this or better!

The Mushroom Mixology Lab The Tale of Three Cocktails: Learn how to make three sexy, tasty, fun and functional cocktails with mushrooms while learning all about their medicinal, spiritual and recreational properties from a doctor of clinical herbalism who's passions include putting the Fun in Functional. Includes take home recipe booklet.

Amanda Janney

Amanda founded KM Mushrooms  in 2023. KM mushrooms is a woman-owned gourmet mushroom farm based in Santa Rosa. Fully solar-powered, KM serves San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties and is on a mission to help you eat more mushrooms.

How To Scale A Mushroom Farm: This presentation is more of a conversation between Erik Lomen of Maine Cap N Stem and Amanda Janney of KM Mushrooms exploring a wide variety of cultivation topics relevant to the complex conversation around scaling a mushroom business, working with other decentralized cultivators, running a spore to store operation, collaborating and innovating to bring new species of fungi to the dinner plates of America, among all the other topics specific to growing with the rising tide!

Chad Hyatt

Chad Hyatt has made a name for himself in Northern California and beyond by sharing his delicious spin on wild mushroom cookery at public and private events. Both an expert forager and classically trained chef, he has cooked in a variety of restaurants and private clubs around the San Francisco Bay area, where he can often be found putting on wild mushroom themed dinners and teaching mushroom related classes.

Chad dove into mushroom hunting shortly after beginning his cooking career, and quickly gained a local reputation for eating the “weird mushrooms” that nobody else collected. As his mushroom hunting knowledge improved, his kitchen skills began to open up doors to cooking and teaching at various mushroom events in California and beyond. He still has a reputation for eating all of the weird mushrooms, though these days people often pay to share the experience.

Cooking Demo

Wilder Herbertson 

Wilder grew up eating of the earth (through foraging plants, tending gardens, and the slaughtering of livestock), mushrooms didn’t enter my life until 2018. Since the first time I identified, cooked, and ate my own mushroom find (Coprinellus micaceus, which has a special place in my heart now), I’ve been consumed by it. I’ve been an active member of the Sonoma Mycological Association since September 2018, and of the Mendocino Coast Mushroom Club since 2022. While foraging edible mushrooms for the kitchen was my doorway into the fungal queendom, my interest quickly expanded to fungal ecological roles as a whole, dyeing fiber with mushrooms and lichens, and some cloning and growing of mushrooms at home. Eventually, I couldn’t keep the joy I find in these practices to myself and I began offering guided plant or mushroom hikes and ancestral skill practice workshops (salve making, wild fermentation, mushroom, lichen, and plant dyeing, making cord out of plants, slaughtering support, etc.) in late 2020 and early 2021.
It’s my passion to share the gifts of foraging, land connection, and ancestral skills practices with friends old and new. To learn more about my offerings, visit my website at humanbecoming.me where I’ve got upcoming workshops and retreats listed, an online store, a little about me, and more. I can't wait to meet you and share in the forest magic of mushroom dyeing with you!

Mushroom Dyeing

Britt A. Bunyard
Britt Bunyard Britt Bunyard, PhD, is the founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of the mycology journal Fungi, in print since 2008. Britt is a former university professor and has published over 100 academic and popular science papers. He has served as an editor for mycological and entomological research journals, and mushroom guide books. A popular evangelizer on all things fungal, Britt has given more than 250 invited lectures to academic and popular audiences across North America and beyond. He has been featured on the BBC World Service’s Newshour, NPR’s All Things Considered, PBS’s NOVA and Wisconsin Foodie television programs; and interviewed or quoted in Discover magazine, The Atlantic, National Geographic, Vox, Vogue, Forbes, Saveur, Eating Well, Hobby Farm, Women’s World, and other magazines and newspapers. Britt has collected fungi and lectured throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Annually, he leads mycological expeditions throughout the world. One such expedition, was the subject of a documentary film “Look Down Not Up” (2022), produced by documentary filmmakers Alok Siddhi Tuladhar and Dusty Shiva Panthi of Kathmandu, Nepal. Britt has authored several books, including The Little Book of Fungi (2024; Princeton University Press), Lives of the Fungi (2022; Princeton University Press), The Beginner’s Guide to Mushrooms (2021; Quarry Books), Amanitas of North America (2020; The Fungi Press), and Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and Midwestern States (2012; The Ohio State University Press). Britt has served as Executive Director of the Telluride Mushroom Festival since 2014. In 2021 he was awarded the Gary Lincoff Award “For Contributions to Amateur Mycology,” by the North American Mycological Association—NAMA’s most prestigious honor for American mycologists.

Secret Lives of Fungi:  Fungi are weird, fungi are cool, and fungi are beautiful. But how much do we really know about them? For starters, they do much more than just rot things. They control pretty much all life on our planet and are everywhere. Britt Bunyard’s lecture will present fascinating stories and beautiful photos of amazing fungi featured in his latest book. Discover the crazy, wonderful life that goes on all around us, mostly hidden in plain sight. For general audiences, no knowledge of mycology is required, and all levels of mycological questions are encouraged for the Q&A. This lecture is based on features from Bunyard’s new book, The Lives of Fungi, A Natural History of Our Planet's Decomposers.

Dr. LeTa
LeTa, a multifaceted practitioner blending the roles of physician, herbalist, mentor, and facilitator, channels her profound experiences and diverse teachings into her transformative work. Drawing from over 17 years of holistic healing practices, she founded Start With Yourself, a pioneering framework dedicated to catalyzing profound change and personal growth. Currently pursuing her studies at Naropa University Center for Psychedelic Studies, LeTa serves as the Director of Harm Reduction for the Santa Cruz Psychedelic Society. She co-owns a cutting-edge lab testing company specializing in personalized psilocybin recommendations and other verticals within the psychedelic space. LeTa's mission is to guide individuals towards wellness in a healthcare landscape often fixated on symptom management, fostering real and lasting transformation.


LeTa's commitment to facilitating profound change transcends traditional healing modalities. Her unique approach, rooted in disrupting entrenched mental and emotional patterns, unlocks the innate capacity for self-healing and empowerment. With LeTa's guidance, clients embark on a journey towards intrinsic well-being, harnessing the transformative power within themselves to thrive in all aspects of life. Through sovereign insight, her groundbreaking synthesis of Eastern wisdom and Western medicine, Dr. LeTa facilitates and mentors individuals to awaken to their true sovereignty, transcending pain and stagnation to embracing wellness in its truest form.You can find her at DoctorLeTa.com or on Signal.

Taye Bright
Taye Bright is a mycologist, naturalist, artist and all-around biophile passionate about fungal ecology, plant-fungal symbioses, bioremediation, ethnomycology, community science and conservation. She is especially interested in allying with fungi to encourage ecological literacy, create life-ways in alignment with bioregional intelligence and uplift cultural narratives that encourage interspecies reciprocity. Taye works for the Fungal Diversity Survey, the only nonprofit focused on North America's fungal biodiversity and conservation. There, she serves as a field mycologist for the California Fungal Diversity Survey and as co-coordinator for the West Coast Rare Fungi challenge. She is a post-fire bioremediation researcher for the Fire Ecology Network in X-Site Study (FENiXS), a climate adaptation study investigating the effects of microbial and fungal inocula on community resilience and ecosystem recovery. She leads classes, courses, workshops and walks around California and beyond focusing on increasing accessibility of mycological and ecological education outside of conventional academia. Furthermore, Taye is the Education and Outreach coordinator for CoRenewal, on the Conservation and Stewardship committee for the North American Mycological Association, and sits on the board for the Sonoma County Mycological Association and Bay Area Applied Mycology. Outside of her scientific work, you can find her in the garden talking with birds, experimenting with mushroom inks and dyes, surfing in frigid Pacific waters, reading Scandinavian mythology and writing nature-inspired poetry.

Caring for fungi through community science: The Fungal Diversity Survey (FUNDIS) is a non-profit focused on North America's fungal biodiversity and conservation. Bringing together people all over the continent ranging from community scientists to life-long professional mycologists, FUNDIS is building the framework for unprecedented community engagement, mycological advocacy, scientific discovery and fungal protection in North America. Join Taye Bright, a field mycologist for FUNDIS and co-coordinator for the West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge to hear exciting stories about discoveries made from year one of the CA Fungal Diversity Survey, insights from the rare fungi challenges, and most importantly, learn about fungal conservation and how you can get involved! For the love of fungi!

Jess Starwood

Jess Starwood is an established author, naturalist, chef, herbalist and educator. She recently wrote and photographed Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi. She is also the founder of SunRaven Apothecary, which offers small-batch handcrafted herbal goods for the journey of the body and mind.

Jess teaches foraging, wild foods, and nature education classes for children and adults. She founded The Wild Path, a wild food apprenticeship and educational program in 2020, which strives to connect the community to nature positively and sustainably. She also leads wild food group adventures on the West Coast, Southwest United States, and Mexico.

With a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine, Jess is pursuing a Doctorate of Science in Integrative Health from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She has earned the Integrative Psilocybin Mushroom Specialist and Integrative Cannabis Specialist certifications.

She is a member of the Culinary Arts Committee for the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and the editor of the amateur mycology journal McIllvainea. She is on the board of directors for the Arizona Mushroom Society and the Los Angeles Mycological Society.

Mushrooms Make Us Happy: A Holistic Perspective on the Brightside of Fungi: 

An engaging discussion on the mood-lifting compounds of fungi (such as 5htp, vitamins and minerals known to promote a healthy mental outlook, including psychoactive compounds in some species) as well as other components such as time outdoors, exercise, connection, community and diet.


Sarah-Kate Boylan

After exhausting all traditional medical treatment options for her daughter Lily’s
chronic seizures, Sarah-Kate found preliminary research suggesting functional
mushrooms could help Lily with her intractable epilepsy. With continuous use of
functional mushrooms alongside anti-seizure medication, Lily went from having an
average of 50 seizures a day to roughly one every few months.
Sarah-Kate's mission to fund research focusing on the effectiveness of medicinal
mushrooms and their potential to improve the quality of life for people living with
epilepsy bridges the gap between traditional and non-traditional approaches. She
plans to further research campaigns to prove efficacy that will eventually result in a
mushroom therapeutic for the treatment of epilepsy.

Medicinal mushroom research for epilepsy. How you can help!

Philip Ross 

Philip Ross is an artist and the co-founder of MycoWorks, following a path at the intersection of art, design and biotechnology for over three decades. Philip pioneered materials research which launched the field of mycotecture, a term he coined in 2008 to describe the art of designing and building with mycelium. His mycelium artworks and installations have been exhibited internationally , and his patents and publications are foundational to the field of mycelium material science. Philip is also the co-founder and Principal Investigator of Open Fung, which is developing tools, measurements and utilities for applied fungal materials.


The past and future of mycelium technologies: In this talk, MycoWorks' co-founder will share his experiences and views of mycelium based materials, how mycelium can be thought of as a technology, and avenues for a deeper engagement with fungal utility.

Marie Brennan 

Vegetable enthusiast, keen fermenter and an avid traveler. Her explorations are fueled by the desire to find her next pantry staple and learn yet another way to use onions. Her culinary focus is vegetarian, Californian cuisine that is imbued with global flavors. Her classes are known for their healthyish and punchy flavors as well as her non-dogmatic and enthusiastic approach to food. Marie graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Dietetics and in 2014 moved to the Bay Area to attend culinary arts school. She stayed for the produce and the sunshine. Marie lives in Berkeley California and works as an educator, consultant, private chef and recipe developer. You can learn more about Marie at www.hedonistinmoderation.com

Cooking demo: 
Sweet & Savory Mushroom & Cheese Shortbread

Charles Lefevre

Dr. Lefevre is recognized internationally as a pioneer of the North American truffle industry, and is unquestionably the most successful producer of inoculated trees and producing truffle orchards on the continent. He received his PhD in Forest Mycology at OSU, where he earned a reputation for his insatiable curiosity and his uncompromising integrity. He designed and developed one of the largest gathering of truffle farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs in the world for the annual Truffle Growers’ Forum to share their expertise and experience in what is otherwise a very secretive and fiercely competitive industry.

Truffles and Truffle Cultivation in North America

Jake Keller 

Jake Keller is a long-time fungi enthusiast turned bio-remediation specialist. He looks forward to developing next-gen bio-based products to remediate contaminated and polluted landscapes.

Working with fungi and bacteria to heal the environment: An outline the current challenges of conventional remediation strategies and propose new ways of working with fungi and bacteria to heal contaminated and polluted environments. I will provide background on current bio-remediation techniques and methods and provide info on the high-stakes opportunities we have to team-up with fungi and bacteria to do a better job of healing the scars leftover from industrial progression.

Elissa Callen 

Elissa Callen is an ecological artist working with local plants and fungi to make natural inks and pigments she uses as the staple materials in her art practice. She holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from California College of the Arts, has a professional background in horticulture, and nearly ten years of experience using natural, locally gathered materials sustainably for color. Her practice is informed by her research in California ecology and the impact invasive plant species have on native biodiversity. 

She has taught with institutions throughout California including Fibershed, Theodore Payne Foundation, Point Reyes National Seashore, numerous mycological societies, schools, and more. She believes in using her work with sustainable natural materials as a means of increasing community interest in environmentalism, preservation, and connectedness to the native landscape. 

Using mushrooms to make pigments

David Poplin

David Poplin is the founder of Humboldt Mycology, a psilocybin mushroom company that produces high quality mushroom products along with educational content/ lectures. He studied biochemistry at Humboldt State University which has lead him into understanding many different extraction methods and ideology. His goal is to provide a better understanding on extractions so people have the confidence and knowledge to be able to grow and make their own medicines.

Extraction Methods for Medicinal Compounds

Jacob DeVecchio

Jacob DeVecchio is the founder of Oklahoma Fungi, the Oklahoma City Mycology Club, and the Oklahoma Mushroom Festival. Oklahoma Fungi is dedicated to providing high-quality mushroom cultivation supplies and educational materials to the local community and beyond. Jacob adopts a family-friendly approach to education and has organized over 70 mushroom education classes, teaching more than 1,600 students since November 2021. His passion for mushroom foraging skyrocketed when he found a wild Psilocybe cubensis mushroom in southeastern Oklahoma. Jacob later released the same landrace genetics to the community as "Oklahoma Wild" to help spread the spores.

From The Field To The Lab
Presentation will provide attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary for wild mushroom foraging and cultivation. The class will begin by introducing the fundamentals of mushroom foraging, including essential gear and safety precautions for collecting mushrooms. Students will also learn professional identification techniques, such as making a spore print and effectively using a local field guide. For edible mushrooms, the course will further explore tissue sampling techniques for cultivation, including tissue cloning, transfers, and inoculation. By the end of this class, participants will have acquired practical and hands-on professional knowledge to safely forage and cultivate the same genetics they collect in the field.

Maya Elson

Maya is a co-founder of Radical Mycology, and has started Applied Mycology groups in Olympia, WA and the San Francisco Bay area. Maya was the Executive Director of CoRenewal from 2016-2021, where they supported research in Regenerative Mycology. They are the co-founder and Program Coordinator of the Post Fire Biofiltration Initiative, an effort and experiment using fungi to prevent toxins from burned homes from entering waterways in Central California. Maya has also played a central role in four studies that seek to develop methodologies for applying inocula post fire for erosion control, toxin mitigation, forest fuels reduction and ecological regeneration. Maya is currently involved with Maui Bioremediation Group, aiding in the effort to mitigate toxic ash from the recent fires. At UC Santa Cruz, Maya is a mycological consultant and researcher developing educational programs that expand our scientific understanding of the role of fungi for increasing wildfire resilience. Maya developed the term “Mycopsychology” as a modality for facilitating deeper connection with Fungi for personal and planetary transformation, and runs a mycological education business called MycoPyschology Experiences. 

Allison Feduccia

Allison is PhD, is a neuropharmacologist, psychedelic researcher, and educator. She is the Co-Founder + CEO of Psychedelic Support, a platform for education and connection to psychedelic practitioners, and a scientific advisor for Project New Day and the Etheridge Foundation, 501(c)3 nonprofits dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and actualize mental health through the responsible use of psychedelics. She began researching MDMA in 2004 and has worked on mental health research at UT Austin, UCSF, NIH, and MAPS PBC. Dr. Feduccia has authored 30 publications on psychedelics and mental health in peer-reviewed journals and several continuing education courses and articles. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA where she enjoys cooking, hiking in the redwood forest, and spending time with horses.

Journeying Within: Exploring Psilocybin Therapy for Mental Wellness 
Join us for an illuminating journey into the emerging field of psilocybin therapy for mental wellness. Psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms, has garnered increasing attention for its potential therapeutic benefits in treating various mental health conditions. Through a combination of scientific research, clinical trials, and anecdotal evidence, we take a look at how psilocybin-assisted therapy and microdosing are revolutionizing our approach to mental wellness.